Ambition revisited.

January 26, 2011

I’m finding that the way I read books is the same way I think.  I’ll usually read a few different books at once, each at a different pace.  I may finish one book in a week, another in a few months, another over the course of a year.  Likewise my thoughts.  I may exhaust one thought in a week, but others … may take a while.

Ambition has been one of those “while” thoughts.  I’d revisited my questions from last April many times since, and every time, I just gave up.  Still confusion.  Still no answers.

Then I received a little red book for Christmas: Dave Harvey’s Rescuing Ambition (thank you, JE). And in retrospect by grace, I found I was looking for the wrong kinds of answers.  I sought application before definition.  I wanted to know what ambition should do before I knew what ambition should be, at the heart level.  As a result, I found myself hard-pressed, because the redeemed life doesn’t operate in that order.

The great gospel imperatives to holiness are ever rooted in indicatives of grace that are able to sustain the weight of those imperatives.
(Sinclair Ferguson, 2007 Banner of Truth Conference)

We tend to evaluate who we are by what we achieve.  That’s the trap the rich young ruler fell into when he asked Jesus, “What must I do to be saved?” and got his heart put on display in response.
(Dave Harvey, Rescuing Ambition, p. 67)

In my rush to find answers and take action, I missed first base.  And second.  And third.

I missed the heart.  The heart that God created for Himself, planting godly ambition within.  The heart that sin corrupted, perverting the heart’s ambition.  The heart that God redeems through the finished work of His Son, ambition included.  I narrowly defined “ambition” to include only actions and external pursuits, forgetting “ambition” is primarily a heart orientation deeply rooted in who or what I worship.

So, my ambition questions should not have focused so much on this pursuit or that pursuit, this career or that career, this calling or that calling, but rather on idolatry or true worship, my agenda or God’s agenda, my name’s sake or His name’s sake.

Last April, I asked, “What’s a woman to do with ambition?”

In short, I believe the answer is, “Pursue it — with all her might!”  That is, given she embraces it as God meant.

(More.  Soon.)

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2 Responses to “Ambition revisited.”

  1. bom amigo Says:

    Some well articulated thoughts on a topic that really eludes simplistic understanding. I think one’s ability to parse heart issues from behaviors and action is evidence of the work of gospel vulnerability.

    And I think we posted almost simultaneously. Glean.


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